Ambit Energy’s “Automate Everything” Motto Helped Them Deploy 1,200x Faster with Puppet Enterprise

Through its established networks of consultants, Ambit Energy offers retail electric, gas, and solar energy services in more than 50 U.S. markets across a dozen states. Their need for rapid deployment of new code to support business applications drove the company to Puppet Enterprise, enabling the same team to manage more servers and deployments daily. 

Benefits of Using Puppet:

1,200x faster deployments,

up from monthly production-ready releases

Faster features and fixes

with fewer bugs

Truly continuous operations

with no maintenance windows needed

500 servers managed

by the same team that used to manage 30

Challenge: Slow Deployment, Infrequent Releases & Low Server Capacity

Ambit’s market strategy — operating in competitive energy markets within rules established by incumbent utilities providers — requires a high degree of business adaptability. They have to strike a unique operational balance: adapting to varying market regulations, working within the customer management rules from utilities that own the infrastructure underpinning Ambit’s services; and maintaining accurate, customer-friendly billing processes.

For IT, that means deploying code frequently and maintaining a lot of servers. But before Puppet, the company was deploying code quarterly or, at most, monthly, and managing just 30 application servers (mostly running Windows and .NET).

That frequency and fleet weren’t going to keep up with the needs of Ambit’s customers or their business goals. Deployment took too long with one-off scripts and manual processes, and they needed to increase their server capacity to keep up with the pace of change without staffing up significantly.

Results: Lightning-Fast Deployment, ~17x More Servers Managed & Zero Maintenance Windows

“Our mantra is ‘automate everything’ ... Puppet is great for us; I can’t think of any other way we would have gone.” 
- Robert Rudduck, Director of Architecture and DevOps, Ambit Energy

Their choice of Puppet Enterprise over competitors like Chef and Ansible aligned with their company-wide automation ethos. That includes automating the entire lifecycle of virtual machines, from provisioning to end-of-life, Ambit’s internally built web services framework and messaging framework, and more.

After integrating Puppet Enterprise, Ambit Energy started deploying 30 to 40 applications to production every single day — up 1,200-fold over bunching up a handful of releases in monthly or quarterly batches. Puppet Enterprise integrates with Ambit’s internally built tools, allowing them to release code continuously throughout the day.

“Our DevOps guys are not developers who code in Ruby — that’s not how they solve problems,” said Rudduck. “With Chef, you have to write a ton of Ruby code, and you have to have the dev mindset. Because of Puppet’s resource-oriented DSL, you don’t have to think like a developer; you can just think about the state of your resources.”

Democratizing app deployment and server maintenance helped Ambit increase team efficiency, putting 500 nodes under the management of the same team that used to manage just 30. It even helped Ambit do away with maintenance windows altogether.  

Ambit’s continuous delivery platform lets their IT team deploy changes to production environments rapidly and seamlessly, with no disruption to the regular function of their systems. Roll-forward is now a true option, and deployment-related rework is near zero.

Need to deploy applications and infrastructure faster with greater consistency and less manual work? Try Puppet Enterprise on 10 nodes for — no commitment — or request a guided demo with one of our Puppet experts today.